1. What is OPCC?
OPCC (Ocean Park Community Center) is the largest and most comprehensive provider of housing and services on the Westside to low-income and homeless youth, adults and families, battered women and their children, and people living with mental illness, particularly homeless mentally ill women. OPCC currently operates 257 emergency and transitional beds in six facilities, and has over 150 individuals living in apartments throughout the region with rental subsidy vouchers obtained by OPCC.
Staff, volunteers and clients work together with mutual respect to address the effects of poverty, abuse, neglect and discrimination. The agency’s programs are designed to empower people to access the resources they need to ensure their survival, end their victimization and improve the quality of their lives. OPCC provides a common ground for our diverse community to affect public policy and advocate responsive human resources.
OPCC was founded in 1963 as a community resource center for low-income families in the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica. As the needs of the community have changed over the last 45 years, and homelessness, domestic violence, and mental illness have become prominent social issues, OPCC has evolved into a multi-faceted social service agency serving more than 8,000 people annually, empowering them to rebuild their lives and become self-sufficient.
2. What exactly does the agency do?
OPCC empowers people to re-build their lives by providing a network of housing and services for low-income and homeless youth, adults and families, battered women and their children, and people living with mentally illness. We provide everything from immediate services to meet people’s basic human needs – food, clothing and showers – through case management, mental health services, advocacy and support in navigating systems and obtaining benefits, as well as various housing options including emergency and transitional housing, and permanent housing with supportive services to help people stabilize their lives and live independently.
3. What are the specific projects under OPCC and what does each project do?
For more detailed information about each of OPCC’s projects click on the link below:
4. What area does OPCC serve?
OPCC serves Santa Monica and the Westside of Los Angeles County.
5. How can I donate to OPCC?
Making a donation to OPCC is an excellent way to support our mission. There are three ways that you can make a monetary donation:
- Giving Online is secure, simple, and has an immediate impact. You also have the opportunity to direct your gift to your special area of interest.
- Giving By Mail – Send a check or money order (made payable to OPCC or one of its projects) to: OPCC, 1453 16th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404-2715
- Giving By Phone - Call our Development Department at 310-264-6646; 8:30AM to 5:00 PM (PST) Monday through Friday.
6. Can I donate to an individual project?
Yes, you can designate your gift for an individual project. When you make a directed gift to OPCC, you enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a program that is personally meaningful to you.
7. How can I volunteer for one of OPCC’s projects?
Volunteers are a vital part of our programs. Each year, hundreds of individuals, employee and faith groups, students and former clients donate their time to help the people served at OPCC. In the FY 06-07, volunteers donated over 27,000 hours saving the agency over $444,528 in costs!
The volunteer needs for each of OPCC’s projects vary. Some require specific training before you can volunteer. To learn more about our volunteer opportunities visit our website and click on “Giving To OPCC” and the “Volunteer” link. There you will find more information about volunteering at each project and how to get involved.
If you have a group that would like to do a project, please call our Development Department at 310-264-6646 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. How is OPCC funded?
OPCC receives funding from federal, state and local governments, foundations, corporations and private individuals. OPCC’s finances undergo an annual independent audit each year. A copy of the audit is available on our website. It can be found under “Annual Report” under “About OPCC”. You can also request a copy by mail by calling our Development Department at 310-264-6646.
9. Why are people homeless?
Homelessness can be caused by several factors. People often become homeless due to a significant life altering experience. Physical or mental illness, changes in employment, loss of a spouse or partner through death or divorce, significant change in income where people can’t pay their bills, domestic violence or substance abuse can all contribute to someone becoming homeless.
10. What can I do when a homeless person or someone that appears to be homeless asks for money?
Giving money to people is a personal decision. Seeing people on the streets, often in very desperate situations, causes most of us to feel empathy and we want to do something to help. In our experience it’s usually best not to give money to people who panhandle. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who aren’t really homeless and panhandle as a way to make a living. Although some homeless people use the money for food or shelter, it may also be contributing to feeding an addiction that is interfering with that individual’s ability or willingness to get off the streets. It’s best to acknowledge the person and politely say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t give you any money.” If you’re aware of local resources where you can refer them for help, that is also a way to offer assistance.
11. Where do I refer someone that is homeless or appears to be homeless for help?
Depending on where you are in the City or County of Los Angeles, there may be local service providers in that area. You can also refer people to Info Line, which is 211. It should have information about resources all over Los Angeles County.
12. Do you accept donations other than money?
We accept various in-kind donations. To get a list of items that are most useful for our clients please click on the “Wish List”. Unfortunately, we are not able to pick-up donations. They can be dropped off at our offices -1453 16th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404 – M-F between 9am-4:30pm. We can provide tax receipts for your donation.
13. If I am a battered woman, or think that someone I know is a battered woman, how can we get help from you?
Please feel free to call our 24-hour hotline (310) 264-6644 and we will be happy to talk with you about what services are available. For more information about domestic violence, please click on the link to Sojourn Services for Battered Women And Their Children.